Wash Keeping Rangers Competitive
With the Arlington M*A*S*H unit dressed up as the Texas Rangers somehow shutting out the Washington Nationals on Sunday, the Rangers finished their 11 game road trip with a very impressive 7-4 record. Considering just how banged up the Rangers are, to go 7-4 is incredible. Yu Darvish was one of the walking wounded until Sunday when he loosened up his stiff neck enough to shut out the Nationals 2-0 (he had missed his last start). In the process, he tied his season-high with 12 strike outs. That just shows how valuable Darvish is to the Rangers and why he is one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball. The Rangers lost the first two games of the series by the lop-sided scores of 9-2 and 10-2, but the Nationals couldn’t figure out Yu. Believe it or not, the Rangers lead the major leagues with 11 shut-outs this season.
Manager Ron Washington deserves a lot of credit for doing whatever he has to do, with whatever talent remains in the clubhouse, to win games. Just how bad is it? We all know that Prince Fielder is lost for the year and the pitching staff has more questions than a Senate investigation, and on Sunday Wash decided to give Shin-Soo Choo a day off to rest his injured ankle. Michael Choice was supposed to replace him in left field, but Choice is still to tender from taking a foul ball off his shin on Thursday so that meant that Wash had to go with Daniel Robertson in left. This was Robertson’s first action since his collision with Alex Rios a week ago which left Robertson with a fractured cheek. Robertson had to wear a special mask in the outfield and special batting helmet. Other than that he was fine. Oh yea, and don’t forget that Donnie Murphy started Sunday at first base so that Mitch Moreland could get a rare day off to rest his sore back and ankle.
Adrian Beltre is the team’s oldest position player at 36 but he started all 11 games of the road trip, when under normal circumstances Wash would give him at least one game off on such an extended trip. To his credit, Beltre is doing what he can to keep the Rangers in the hunt. Over the last 26 games he’s batting .337 with 5 homers, 15 RBI’s and a .529 slugging percentage. The Rangers start the new week 6 games back of Oakland and one game over .500. Normally this franchise wouldn’t be happy with those stats, but considering how banged up they are, it’s almost a miracle that they’re where they are.
We all know how close the A.L. West race has been the past few seasons and it’s expected to be no different this year. So while they play 162 games and there are still 105 left to play, each win or loss now can be very important come September. Washington piecemealing together a team day after day, waiting for players to get healthy and finding ways to still pull out victories is really impressive. I can’t wait until a few more injuries occur and Wash pencils his own name in the starting line-up.